worry one's heart to pieces VS work one's heart out

Lydia Qiu

Senior Member
Mandarin
Hi all! My friend wrote:

These young trees were carefully nursed by the head gardener, who was worrying his heart to pieces.

My friend wanted to say that gardener worked his heart out.

Does the text in red mean the same thing?
 
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Ignoring whether anyone would say these, the first one is telling us how much he worried, while the second says how much he worked. Those aren't the same.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    At first I thought perhaps the gardener's health suffered.

    From the information in #3 it sounds to me that the gardener put his heart into the task, i.e. he didn't treat it as just another job he was paid to do.
     
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